It happens in a flash! After prolonged periods of dull suffering, transformation strikes you like a bolt of lightening. You put in countless hours, doing things that seem to have absolutely no effect and then, seemingly out of nowhere, you experience a breakthrough. Call it a paradigm shift. I am reminded of the ori of Caterpillars, which requires that it encase itself in a cocoon. Once inside, Caterpillar basically decomposes into a kind of liquid and then reconstitutes itself. When it emerges, Caterpillar now has wings and brilliant colors. After a period of prolonged darkness, complete dissolution and containment, Caterpillar transforms himself into a butterfly! And so, the elders will sometimes say, "Tinotino tehintehin ni labalaba ifi iyin Olorun," which means, By its beauty, the butterfly praises God within and without (i.e., in all its parts)."
Many years ago, I was a student of what is called Black Gnosticism. My teacher, Dadisi Soyinka, divined for me only one time, but the message was profound. And although I never forgot what he told me, I also never fully understood what it meant until now. More exactly, I am reminded of a particular prophecy he made concerning the path of my destiny. He said, "You will be the architect of a personal transformation experience. It will change the lives of many people, more than you can imagine. But before it is activated, you must experience it first." I had a clear intellectual idea of what that meant. As an educator and human services professional, I immediately thought of curriculum, pedagogy and a range of classes. As my priesthood continued to develop, I came to understand the significance of certain rites of passage. And while all of those elements are certainly true, it is only today that I have fully internalized the true significance of what Dadisi told me on that fateful day in July 1995.
The activating agent of personal transformation is personal sacrifice. They say that the soul rejoices for what the body has lost. In order to become a butterfly, you must surrender what it means to be a caterpillar. Find out more in my class, Three Golden Keys of Meaningful Change.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | www.ObafemiO.com
Live the Medicine
Obafemi Origunwa, MA
Thought leader, Ifa priest and author of four definitive books, Obafemi Origunwa inspires metamorphosis through living the medicine that will heal your life and heal the lives of the people you're destined to serve.